The TACH Report: Nigel Mansell Has a Run-In With The Bobbies, FF2000 Qualifying Lineup, Saturn Sales Slump

24 January 1998

Former world driving champion and CART star Nigel Mansell has a new $300,000 Bentley Turbo, but he can't drive it. The Bobbies in Yeovil, England pinched him for cruising at 90 mph and took his driving license away for a haf-year.

Qualifying for today's season opening FF2000 race at Buena Vista, Fla shows the five positions as:

Thiago Bezzerra, Brazil
Robby McGehee, St. Louis
Duncan Dayton, Salem, N.Y.
Jeff Horne, Valencia, Ca
Ron Herb, Indianapolis

Front row for the IRL opening race goes to Tony Stewart and Scott Sharp, both in Olds Aurora powered cars.

The Saturn division of GM is going through a slow sales period and, as a result, is scaling back production plans, rather than lay off workers. The division sold 251.099 cars in 1997, a 10% drop from 1996.

Honda will export a half million vehicles in 1998.

Mercedes Benz dealers have contributed $500,000 to March of Dimes via a series of amateur golf tourneys.

A.J. Foyt's Conseco IRL team is going to have a wild paint scheme on Billy Boats Dallara/Aurora racer, which is shod with Goodyear shoes. Boat, a 31 year-old from Arizona, has raced Sprints and Midgets in his quest for the full season Indy car ride that he now has with Anthony Joseph Foyt. The race at Disneyworld is on the tube tomorrow, Saturday at 12:30 EST.

The Kia Motor Co has the shorts--money shorts--and is talking with Ford about lending them $625 million to restructure their operation. The Seoul, Korea company had 0.4% of the U.S. market in 1997.

Mercedes Benz, on the other hand, had a banner, record-breaking, sales year in the U.S. and is expanding their operations in Alabama to handle the flood of orders for its ML320 minivan.

The hit of the Detroit Auto Show--and probably next months Chicago show--was the new $15,000 VW Beetle. It is a niche vehicle, and according to former Chrysler Prexy Bob Lutz Niche-ing is where it's at. Chrysler has some big future plans for niche vehicles.

Recently the Feds passed a rule saying if you don't want airbags, go to your dealer and have them put in an off-on switch. So far in this land--where 15 million vehicles were sold in 1997--only 6400 people had their airbags cut off.

What President signed the 55 mph highway law?

Bill Maloney -- The Auto Channel

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